George M. Lawton, a Michigan Man, who played for Fielding H. Yost died on this date in 1941. He was only fifty-five years old at the time of his death.
Lawton came from Detroit to study law and play football for the Michigan Wolverines in 1908. He was listed on the team rosters as a reserve End in 1908 and a reserve Fullback in 1909. If Lawton earned any playing time in those seasons, it wasn’t enough to earn him a varsity letter and get his picture in the “official” team photos.
His hard work and dedication was rewarded in his third year on the team. Coach Yost saw to it that he started the versatile Lawton at right guard for one game and fullback in another. He definitely played in some games and earned a varsity letter on a Fielding H. Yost football team which was not an easy thing to do. Of the sixty players listed on the roster for the 1910 team, only fourteen earned their letters. So, being a letter winner on a Yost football team was a pretty big accomplishment in my view.
George Lawton graduated from the Michigan Law School in 1911. He accomplished what he came to Ann Arbor to do. He played on three winning football teams and earned his law degree – both impressive accomplishments!
Michigan’s record during the Yost/Lawton years was pretty good. The overall record from 1908 to 1910 was 14 wins, 3 losses and 4 ties. Remember, this was the time when Michigan was out of the Western Conference so scheduling was difficult. They played a lot of games against eastern teams.
There were three other interesting things about George Lawton’s years at Michigan that I want to mention. First, Michigan lost their first ever game to Notre Dame (3-11) when former Michigan Man Frank “Shorty” Longman led the Notre Damers to victory against Fielding Yost’s Wolverines. Second, Lawton’s 1909 team also played in the first ever “Little Brown Jug” game when Michigan went to Minneapolis to retrieve the famous water container from the Gophers. That mission was accomplished successfully as the Wolverines were victorious by a score of 15-6. Finally, Lawton and his teammates successfully retained the “Jug” when Minnesota came to Ann Arbor in 1910 to win it back. Final score: Michigan 6 Minnesota 0. Go Blue
So, it is only fitting to reflect on the life and times of George M. Lawton on the seventy-fifth anniversary of his passing. His life was closely tied to Michigan and the highly successful Michigan football program. Rest in peace Wolverine.
To read a little bit more about the life and times of George M. Lawton please click on the Wikipedia link below.